4 Power-Full P's
Several folks have asked me over the years, “Gracie, how do you stay so slim?” I never really gave it any thought until I was asked. Sincerely, it’s pretty simple. I know there’s a lot of those fitness experts who have all kinds of new-fangled ways to exercise, and surely there’s no shortage of diets. Low fat. High protein. Gluten free. Vegetarian. Sure can make your head spin. Well I just go back to my Mama’s advice. She used to say, “Gracie, God gave us plenty o’ bounty to eat so don’t offend Him by choosing something He didn’t make.” She would surely be opposed to all the store-bought boxes folks call food today. And when it came to exercise she’d say, “God gave you two good legs. Now go use ‘em.”
So when I started thinking about why the Church Body struggles so with their weight and eating poorly, I came to the conclusion there are four important things to remember and do. I call them the Power-Full P’s.
1. Pray - Anyone who’s sincerely following Jesus knows every day and all things must be surrendered to our heavenly Father. He’ll show you what to do, and give you the strength and courage to do it. Surely when we’re trying to start a new habit, especially if it doesn’t feel preferable or comfortable, if we think it’s something the Lord desires of us we gotta get on our knees and ask Him to help us. Remember, His power is perfected in your weakness. When you are weak, He’ll make you strong. So the first step to taking better care of yourself is to say, “Jesus, I’ve tried before to improve my plate, but I keep on being tempted by tater tots. Fill me with Your Spirit of self-control when my flesh wants to grab something that sabotages.
2. Partner - Few folks can sustain a difficult habit all by themselves. That’s why Weight Watchers and A.A. and even exercise classes are so helpful, ‘cus you’re accountable to someone. Oh, I know, many of you are saying to yourself, “I can do it on my own.” Well, at the risk of offending, if you can, why haven’t you? Seems if you coulda you woulda by now. And anyway, we are called as Christians to support one another. Paul told those church folk in Galatia, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” So if you think you can start doing better on your own, why not help someone else? Maybe your vigor and resolve will get them moving in the right direction too. So after you pray, find a friend or two to walk with you. What about your small group at church?
3. Practice - Funk and Wagnalls define practice as follows: perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency. To carry out or perform a particular activity, method or custom habitually or regularly. Get the picture? Do it again and again. Too often we get started with food changes or walking regular, then something happens that throws us off course. That’s natural. The problem is we tend to stay off course. Our practice turns pitiful. Like that tennis shoe company says, “Just do it.” Sometimes I think we just simply get lazy. It’s easier to eat at a drive-thru or sit on the couch and watch TV. Well Jesus never said life this side of heaven was gonna be easy. In fact, John’s gospel says “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” So there it is. It comes right back to relying on Jesus to conquer our desires of the flesh. And Brother James tells us that when hard stuff comes we’re to be joyful, ‘cus trials produce character. So next time you hear yourself whining about walking, rejoice! You got some character buildin’ coming!
4. Preach - Have you ever heard of a highfalutin concept called Hierarchy of Learning? Seems those smart people who study how we remember best have determined the more we participate the more we learn. For example, if you hear something, like your preacher ‘s Sunday sermon, you only retain about 5% of what he said. My lans, that’s purely pitiful. Seems hardly worth getting’ all gussied up for. Now if you listen and write down what he says, you’ll likely retain 10%. Better, but still not maximum rememberin’. But if you go out and tell someone what you heard, you’ll not only commit more to memory, you’re more likely to do what was preached. So if you go out and talk up the value of walking to all your friends, how the Good Lord wants us to do our temple maintenance, you’re more likely to do it yourself.
So those are the Power-Full P’s. Pray. Partner. Practice. Preach. If you do these are you guaranteed success in your temple maintenance? I surely wish it were so. The truth is P #5 pops up often enough, and that’s Pitfalls. You’re going along, you and your bestie trusting in the Lord to give you strength to treat your temple like it’s holy, and one day you’re distracted by a birthday day party or donuts in the office or the neighborhood BBQ and before you know it you’ve fallen into the pit. You can’t get ketchup and relish on that hotdog fast enough. And since you’ve already “blown it”, why not have a brownie too? And you find yourself lying in your bed that night with your belly big as a balloon. No worries! The pit is part of the process! Just get yourself up the next morning and start with Power-Full P #1: Pray. “Jesus, I love you so. I am so grateful for the body you’ve given me and I truly want to serve You by caring for it. It’s dreadfully difficult, Jesus. There are so many foods that taste so good and in the moment I think I just have to eat them. But I know Your power is perfected in my weakness so I’m coming to You confessing I’m weak, Lord. I can’t do this without You.”
And you know what you’re likely gonna hear back from Him? “You’re absolutely right! You can’t. And this little stumble is part of your training process. I’m the Master Potter, molding you into My image. Your defeat makes you more dependent on Me. I will give you power to overcome the temptations of this world. Trust Me. Get up and go do your temple maintenance today, praising me while you walk.”
He loves you sisters and brothers. Pray for God’s strength in your temple-tendin’. Partner with a pal, lifting her up. Practice, Practice, Practice. And Preach the good news of God’s power in your weakness. Because He cares for you.